cover image The Cool Crazy Crickets

The Cool Crazy Crickets

David Elliott. Candlewick Press (MA), $14.99 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-0601-5

Elliott's (An Alphabet of Rotten Kids!) light and jaunty tale introduces four friends who decide to launch a club. In four short chapters, animated by Meisel's (How to Talk to Your Cat) snappy watercolor-and-ink illustrations, the quartet wrestles with the challenges of finding a name, clubhouse, mascot and raison d' tre for their club. The discussions surrounding the headquarters and mascot receive the most diverting text and visuals. After rejecting for a clubhouse the options of Phoebe's food-littered bedroom and Marcus's room (also occupied by his incessantly jabbering baby brother), the pals tape together two cardboard refrigerator boxes and construct a place of their own. And Leo's dog, Noodles, makes a comical, Snoopy-like attempt to demonstrate his many talents as the members list the ideal attributes of a club mascot. Quick-paced dialogue, brief sentences and a generous smattering of art make this a solid choice for youngsters ready to step up from picture books. The publisher's catalogue promises another adventure with these club members in the near future. Ages 6-8. (June)